Geoff Hoon email on Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport

January 17, 2009 at 4:36 am | Posted in Heathrow | Leave a comment
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Below is a copy of the email my husband received yesterday from Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP, Secretary of State for Transport.  I too responded to Adding Capacity At Heathrow Airport, but have not received an response myself yet, nor have friends who completed the Department for Transport questionnaire last February. How peculiar.  Perhaps I will received a hard copy in the post next week?  (I won’t ask for it in Welsh … )

If you do not live near Heathrow, so tend to consider its expansion a parochial issue, i.e. of concern only to residents suffering from local environmental impacts, please note Hoon’s paragraph with its implications for international emissions targets (of which UK aviation is a subset) and Britain’s climate change commitments:

As well as the decisions on Heathrow Airport, new measures to protect the environment and help ensure Britain meets its climate change commitments were also set out. This included a new target that emissions from UK aviation should fall below 2005 levels by 2050. I have asked the independent Committee on Climate Change to advise Government further on this. The statement also included other important announcements for the country’s transport infrastructure. It can be viewed on the Department’s website.

The bundling effect is another attempt to obfuscate the climate change agenda.  More smoke and mirrors!  Aside from the fact that a BAA promise is not worth the breath it takes to express, and complete in the knowledge that this government is not going to be around to deal with the consequences of its fateful decisions regarding combatting climate change, any sentence that includes the two words “target” and “should” is worthless—and must be discarded into the “pure greenwash” bin immediately.  Furthermore, and very sad to admit, is that all advice, even from the independent Committee on Climate Change, is useless if recommendations by such august bodies are not acted upon by this government.

From: Heathrowconsultation
Date: Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 9:48 AM
Subject: Adding Capacity At Heathrow Airport
To: Heathrowconsultation

Adding Capacity At Heathrow Airport


Dear Respondent

Last year the Government completed a major consultation on Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport. It attracted almost 70,000 responses, with most coming from those living around the airport. In view of that interest, I am writing to let you know the outcome.

The consultation set out a number of proposals for Heathrow; some involved new development and increased capacity while others looked at changes to the way the existing runways operate today. I am grateful to everyone who took the time to comment and share their views as part of this consultation.

These were difficult decisions. I considered the consultation responses and all other relevant evidence carefully before deciding the way forward.

In summary, the decisions that I announced to Parliament, are to:

• confirm support for a third runway at Heathrow with a slightly longer runway (2,200m operational length) and additional passenger terminal facilities, initially subject to an aggregate limit of 605,000 annual movements which would be subject to review in 2020;

• reject the introduction of mixed mode (taking off and landing on both runways) on the existing runways as an interim measure before a third runway. This will maintain the current respite from noise for residents at certain times of the day;

• end the ‘Cranford agreement’ (which currently limits easterly departures off the northern runway), so redistributing noise more fairly around the airport: This will particularly benefit residents of Windsor and others to the west of the airport, and Hatton and North Feltham to the east.

• confirm the view that the following operating practices should stay. The overwhelming majority of people who responded to the consultation wanted these practices to continue.

• ‘westerly preference’ operations (the preferred direction of operation of the runways except in strong contrary winds);

• night-time rotation (the practice of alternating the use of the existing runways at night between westerly and easterly preference, subject to weather conditions)

• ‘early morning alternation’ (the practice of alternating arriving aircraft between the two runways in the 0600 to 0700 period, subject to operational requirements).

To reinforce the commitments we have made on noise and air quality I have also decided that additional flights on the third runway should be allowed only when the independent Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is satisfied that local noise and air quality limits have already been met and that any additional capacity will not compromise them.

In terms of the next steps for Heathrow Airport, it is now for BAA, the airport operator at Heathrow, to consider these decisions. If it decides to pursue a new runway then it will need to prepare relevant plans and obtain planning permissions and other necessary consents. This will involve further consultation in due course.

As well as the decisions on Heathrow Airport, new measures to protect the environment and help ensure Britain meets its climate change commitments were also set out. This included a new target that emissions from UK aviation should fall below 2005 levels by 2050. I have asked the independent Committee on Climate Change to advise Government further on this. The statement also included other important announcements for the country’s transport infrastructure. It can be viewed on the Department’s website.

Full details and the supporting documents behind my decisions on Heathrow can be found on our website http://www.dft.gov.uk Translations of this letter and documents relating to these decisions are also available on request. To do this, please contact the Department supplying your name and postal address and state the language that you require.

I do understand that those potentially most affected by these decisions will have very real and important concerns.

Those whose properties fall within the proposed extended boundary of the airport will receive a further letter from BAA shortly. This will set out the next steps following this decision and where further information and advice on compulsory purchase and compensation schemes can be found.

Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP

Secretary of State for Transport

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